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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Lack Of Leadership American Style

I read about the American leadership in the tragedy in Japan was ashamed.  Here we are the richest country in the world and they are our friend and ally. Yet our contributions are dwarfed by countries like Thailand.  We should be leading by sending money, personnel, food and other basics. Yet our contributions are paltry.

For example, compare these two contributions from the Reuters article:


"The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan has arrived in Japan to assist relief efforts. More U.S. warships arrived off the coast on Sunday.

-- The U.S. embassy in Tokyo has provided an initial $100,000 in immediate disaster relief assistance, and Washington is ready to provide any additional help requested.

-- The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has deployed a Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) that includes disaster response and nuclear experts, and urban search and rescue teams, comprising 144 people and 12 dogs to help find survivors. "

Wow, a whole $100,000 in contributions. I am so proud, not!  Now look what Thailand has done:


"The cabinet has allocated 200 million baht ($6.58 million) to buy warm clothes, gloves, rubber boots, instant food and other goods to be sent to Japan in the next day or two. It will also send 15,000 tonnes of rice.

-- A first medical team leaves on Monday night, including two doctors and a nurse. They will primarily be taking care of about 500 to 600 Thai people in quake-hit Sendai, northeastern Japan. Thailand has another 17-staff medical team ready to go."

Thailand has significantly less assets than America, is not a leader of the free world and yet they are far more generous than the United States.  Where is our leadership?  Oh, I forgot our leadership could not even address the Gulf Oil Spill until members of his own party demanded that he take action.

We must  be leaders of the world, not spectators. It is in times like this that true leaders show what they are made of. Whether it is Lincoln, Roosevelt, Churchill or Reagan, when the times get tough, true leaders emerge.  It is time for Obama to take off the training wheels and get on his big boy bike and start leading the troop. Otherwise, it will prove to other countries that the United States is no longer the leader of the free world.

The attached Reuters article itemizes what other countries are contributing.  Are you as displeased as I am?

Factbox: Aid and rescue offers for Japan quake

(Reuters) – An international rescue effort to help Japan seek survivors of a massive earthquake and tsunami and address a nuclear crisis is gathering pace, with around 100 countries offering assistance.

Japan's government has received offers for assistance from 91 countries, and has accepted assistance from about 15 based on assessed needs, mostly for specialized international urban search and rescue (USAR) teams and medical teams.

Following is a list of aid offers:

The southern Afghan city of Kandahar announced it was donating $50,000.


Sent a 72-strong urban search and rescue team, including sniffer dogs, to Miyagi prefecture. A wide-body C-17 military transport is also providing airlift support, helping move fresh water, Japanese troops and equipment to the quake-zone.
The government has also offered field hospitals and victim identification specialists.


Sent fire brigade search and rescue specialists and equipment including heavy lifting and cutting equipment consisting of 64 personnel and two dogs, and said it would send nuclear physicists if requested.


A 15-member rescue team arrived in Japan on Sunday, state news agency Xinhua said, bringing with them four tonnes of equipment for search and rescue operations, including their own power supply and telecommunications. It said it was ready to provide more aid.

-- The government has donated 30 million yuan ($4.56 million) of relief supplies to Japan, the first batch of which has already left Shanghai, including quilts and tents.

-- Health Minister Chen Zu said China is ready to send whatever medical aid is need to Japan at a moment's notice, Xinhua news agency said.

- Premier Wen Jiabao said on Monday Beijing stood willing to offer further help.

-- China's Red Cross Society has donated another 5 million yuan ($761,200) in emergency aid to its Japanese counterpart, the official Xinhua news agency said. The group has already donated 1 million yuan to Japan following the quake.


France has sent a search and rescue team consisting of 134 personnel.


Germany has sent a search and rescue team consisting of 41 personnel and three dogs.


Hungary's emergency authority said it had offered a 16-member crew as part of the International Response Assistance Network (RANET) programme to check radiation and do medical advisory work in seven monitoring teams.


Is ready to send search and rescue teams and relief material to help during rehabilitation and reconstruction. The navy is on standby to send its ships to Japan.


Will send 15 search and rescue personnel with experience in the Haiti quake as well as blankets, mattresses, water tanks and bottled water in emergency aid to Japan.


Lithuania's state fire and rescue service said it was ready to offer up to 32 rescuers, including three with search dogs and three paramedics. Lithuania coordinates assistance via the European Union.


Will send a team of more than 50 search and rescue personnel to Japan on to assist with rescue efforts. The team will carry equipment such as aid material, medicine and five tracker dogs.

Has donated $1 million and 2,500 woolen blankets, and has offered to send up to 300 soldiers to help with relief efforts, the country's Montsame news agency said.


New Zealand has sent a search and rescue help team consisting of 65 personnel.


Russia's state nuclear corporation, Rosatom, said it had offered to help in responding to the problems at Japanese nuclear plants if necessary. Russia sent 75 rescuers on Sunday to work in quake-affected areas, the Emergencies Ministry said.


Prime Minister Iveta Radicova told parliament that Slovakia had 250,000 euros ready for Japan, but will coordinate with other EU states. Radicova said Japan had asked not to send rescue workers until they have a general idea how to proceed. Slovaks have 25 rescue workers ready.


A 102-member South Korean rescue team departed for Fukushima, where the stricken nuclear plant is located, on Monday aboard three air force C-130 planes. A further 100 rescue workers are on standby to go to Japan. An advance team of five rescue workers and two search dogs have been in Japan since Saturday.


Announced $1 million aid and a military relief team with medical assistance to be dispatched to Japan.

A 28-member team of rescue specialists left for Tokyo on Monday. The team contains some specialists who worked in Christchurch, New Zealand, which was hit by a quake in February. It has sent its first batch of supplies, including clothing, blankets and food, and will start shipping heaters.


The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan has arrived in Japan to assist relief efforts. More U.S. warships arrived off the coast on Sunday.

-- The U.S. embassy in Tokyo has provided an initial $100,000 in immediate disaster relief assistance, and Washington is ready to provide any additional help requested.

-- The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has deployed a Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) that includes disaster response and nuclear experts, and urban search and rescue teams, comprising 144 people and 12 dogs to help find survivors.


Will provide $200,000 in quake/tsunami aid. the Vietnamese Red Cross will give an initial $50,000 via the Japanese Red Cross, a foreign ministry spokeswoman said.


-- Technical assistance teams have been deployed from the Turkish Red Crescent, Switzerland Humanitarian Aid Response Team, Canadian Medical Assistance Team, Save the Children and Plan International. Initial observations from the MSF assessment teams that deployed to Miyagi prefecture indicate the need for food, blankets and water in Sendai City. Telecoms sans Frontiers (TSF) is providing emergency telecommunications assistance from Tokyo.

-- Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) currently has a team of 10 people divided into three teams conducting mobile clinics and assessments in Miyagi prefecture.

-- The U.N's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says on its website that an emergency rescue and relief operation under way in northeast Japan continues to be hampered by high magnitude aftershocks.

($1=30.38 Baht) Sources: Reuters/ (Reporting by Reuters bureaux, compiled by World Desk Asia and David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Peace Through Strength

Tawfik Hamid in his blog ( today makes a very valid point regarding peace in the Middle East and I would say, the world.  We know the Middle East is a powder keg that could explode like the Japanese nuclear plants at any time, however, Tawfik makes the point that in the Palestinian and Arab mind, they fear strength and with strength conflict is reduced. I did not say eliminated as that would be too much for which to hope.

We should look at two different Israeli experiences. In Gaza, Israel unilaterally withdrew and then was pounded for months by rockets from the very territory from which they had withdrawn. Once the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF)  went into Gaza and attacked the attackers, the rockets ended. Why?  According to Tawfik, the Palestinians "feared" the reprisal of the IDF.

Another example is the 1973 Yom Kippur War which Israel won and Egypt lost.  For nearly 40 years there has been a "cold peace" with Egypt and you ask why? Egypt was afraid of retaliation by Israel which has decimated the their troops and tanks in the war. Did it make the countries best friends, hardly.  It made the Arab leadership circumspect and hesitant to start another war. So there was a "peace" that continues today and hopefully with the new Egyptian leadership.

So what is the lesson here for the Israelis and the United States.  I think that the world should remember something that former President Teddy Roosevelt said  a 100 years ago. That was "Walk softly but carry a big stick."  The Israeli leadership (and the United States)  must insure the IDF has the arms necessary to send a message of strength, of superiority in abilities, and of the willingness to defend Israel at all costs. All Arab and Palestinian leaders must understand that an attack whether it be small or large, will be repulsed with  viciousness and power. And that all steps will be taken to make those responsible pay the ultimate price.

If this message is not heard loudly and clearly, there will be those  leaders who will feel that Israel is becoming complacent, fat and lazy and that it will be time to get rid of this pesky little country and those who inhabit it.  This cannot be allowed to happen.

As far as the United States, the current occupant of the White House would rather talk then "carry a big stick" and this is going to cause problems for the U.S.  If your enemy knows that you will come at him with everything you have, overpowering him at every turn, he will hesitate to attack. However, if we appease like Chamberlain did toward Hitler, those who think it is their turn to run the world, will try to do just that. President Obama has not learned this lesson yet, however, when he does, it will cost American dearly.

Neither Israel or the United States have visions of conquering the world regardless what some might say. Both countries want peace and both just want to live their lives and prosper. Unfortunately, this world is made up of men who do not want the same and therefore it is imperative that both nations keep their military strong to insure that the enemy pays dearly for attacking. Other countries should "fear" the retaliation. Through strength you get respect.  It is not the other way around.

Here is Tawfik's posting, it is worth the time to read.

Ensuring Israel Military Superiority is Vital to Maintain Peace Treaties in the Middle East

Tawfik Hamid -, March 14th, 2011

The recent e-revolutions that swept several countries in the Middle East have created a new situation that can seriously affect the current peace treaties between some Arab countries and Israel. These include the Camp David peace treaty with Egypt. Arab regimes that pretended to be friends with Israel have allowed -for several decades-unprecedented levels of anti-Semitism to flourish in their societies. Unlike anti-Semitism in the Arab world during the 1950s and 1960s that was predominantly political, the current form of anti-Semitic views in the Arab world is predominantly religious in nature. This change makes addressing anti-Semitism much more complicated and difficult to solve.

It appears that some of the former Arab leaders allowed anti-Semitism to develop to pathological levels so that they could always blame Israel for the problems within their countries. For example, it was normal for some government officials in Egypt to blame “foreign hands” (referring to Israel) to put the blame on Israel for any problem they face – including terrorist acts.

Currently, there are two important trends that can affect the course of the relations between Arabs and Israel.

The first trend is caused by having more hostile governments toward Israel as a result of these revolutions. The worst case scenario of this trend is if such governments decided to end their peace treaties with Israel.

The second trend is one that can have a positive impact on Arab-Israeli relations and is based on the following observations:

1 – Arab countries are now more concerned about their local national problems after the revolutions than with the Palestinian issue. For example, despite the attempt of some religious scholars such as Sheikh Al-Quradawy attempting to resurrect the Palestinian issue with Egyptians, the general theme of the revolution in Egypt has been focused on the domestic situation rather than the Arab-Israeli conflict. This trend was also noticed in other Arab countries such as Tunisia and Bahrain.

2 – The logic that was used in the past that Israel is behind all the problems in the Arab world has become invalid as the same logic was used by the former Arab regimes to defame the revolutions and the revolutionaries by claiming that popular revolt in the Arab world was an Israeli conspiracy and that the revolutionaries were being paid by Israel.

3 – Challenges to the orthodox Islamic way of thinking that suppressed individual thoughts and freedoms are now available on mainstream media in the Arab world. For example, there is a rising doubt about the accuracy of the authentic books of the Hadith (words and actions) of prophet Mohamed. Some of these Hadith were behind the mainstream Islamic teaching that Muslims must fight all Jews and kill them. As an example of this rising doubt about Hadith books a main stream TV Egyptian Channel called Dream 2 has aired recently several discussions with Adnan Al-Refaaii that created unprecedented doubt about the accuracy of the Hadith books. These discussions (in Arabic) were on a program called “Fi Sabeel Al-Hikma” (In the Path of Wisdom).

Israel cannot rely solely on the above positive trends as Islamist based anti-Semitism is deeply imbedded in the minds of millions of Muslims. In fact, ensuring Israel military superiority is the best antidote for wars in the area. For example, the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) that repeatedly stood against the peace treaty with Israel has recently announced that they will respect the treaty. This was not simply because they changed their views about Israel and the Jews but it was primarily because of the 'fear' of the Israel Military retaliation. The MB knows very well that if they came to power and cancelled the peace treaty with Israel, the Israel military retaliation in such a case can paralyze the country and prove beyond doubt to many Muslims that the slogan of the Muslim Brotherhood “Islam is the solution” is hoax.

It is important in this context to mention that 'fear' is an important component of Islamists minds. The fear of “Hell Fire” is for example an essential component of the religious education of millions of Muslims. The fear from retaliation of “Allah” is what makes many follow the religion so strictly as they are afraid of the punishment.

Israel MUST learn the lesson that all its negotiations with the Palestinians to stop terrorism inside Israel were virtually fruitless. On the contrary, a single powerful attack on Gaza in the winter of 2008-2009 that created 'fear' in the mind of the Palestinians from the Israel Military power managed to almost stop Palestinian terror attacks inside Israel until today. The existence of the security barrier has also possibly contributed to such an effect.

In brief; “fear' is an important and influential component of the Arab Muslim minds. If Israel lost its Military superiority in the area, the new Arab governments will be encouraged to end the peace treaties with Israel which can drag the whole area into wars. The best guarantee to maintain peace treaties in the area is to ensure the Military superiority of Israel in the Middle East.